Give me a book with a cat and Christmas in it and it's a surefire bet that I'm going to like it. The Nine Lives of Christmas is a lovely Christmas talGive me a book with a cat and Christmas in it and it's a surefire bet that I'm going to like it. The Nine Lives of Christmas is a lovely Christmas tale told partially from a cat's point of view. The cat is named Ambrose and he is a yellow tabby who is on his last life. Ambrose is so engaging. Sheila really captured what most of us cat lovers know about cats...little lovers with attitude. I enjoyed the parts featuring Ambrose best, with his inner monologue all focused on how he is going to achieve a long and comfortable ninth life. Of course, some matchmaking is in order. It wouldn't be a Christmas story unless there was a little romance thrown in.
I was afraid at first that this book might end up very sad. It seems that a lot of the stories featuring animals often do. Luckily, this book filled the bill of a fun and heartwarming Christmas tail (tale...sorry, had to use Sheila's witticism) that just adds to the fun and magic of the season. Thank goodness Nicholas Sparks doesn't write Christmas books.
If you love Christmas themed books, you will really enjoy this book. I know it has become part of my permanent Christmas book collection and, I'm sure, will get a reread in Christmases to come!...more
What starts out as a wager between friends quickly transforms a known rake into a romantic, as he falls in love with his quarry. Add to the mix a subpWhat starts out as a wager between friends quickly transforms a known rake into a romantic, as he falls in love with his quarry. Add to the mix a subplot of intrigue in the guise of blackmail and set it during the Regency period at Christmas time and you have a delightfully entertaining work of historical fiction and holiday reading.
I'm not usually a big romance reader, but during Christmas I make an exception. And a historical romance is always a nice addition to my holiday reading. So when I was offered this book for review, I quickly accepted. I'm glad I did. This is my first time reading this author and I was pleased to discover that she really knows the time period. She also knows just how to capture the holiday season during the Regency period.
I recommend this novella as a wonderful work of historical fiction and delightful read for the holidays....more
This book really was a heartwarming Christmas story. I wasn't sure at first if I liked it, but as I read more and more, it started to grow on me. It'sThis book really was a heartwarming Christmas story. I wasn't sure at first if I liked it, but as I read more and more, it started to grow on me. It's one of those stories that has a message of appreciating the past, of letting go of all our technology and what we think are necessities, and mainly how to really appreciate people and the loved ones in your life. Really a wonderful message to read at Christmas time. The authors have incorporated the past and present of a ghost town in the Rocky Mountains, exposing the reader to what life was like then and now. The characters are all interesting in their own way. If I had one pet peeve, it would be the dialect depicted on the page that was supposed to make it sound like a western twang, but really just grated on the nerves a bit. Otherwise, a good Christmas story with a message and many heartwarming moments....more
I think this little historical novella might be my favorite holiday read so far this season. While I'm not much for romance novels, and this is deemedI think this little historical novella might be my favorite holiday read so far this season. While I'm not much for romance novels, and this is deemed a historical romance, it was not over the top with the romance. In fact, I found the historical accuracy and the storytelling to be much like straight historical fiction.
Gabe is such an admirable character. Who couldn't help but fall in love with him? And I admired Cat's independence and being of her own mind. The characters and the story likened to a Jane Austen novel which is a very good thing in my eyes. Add to the mix a bit of traditional wassailing and the reader is treated to a nostalgically entertaining holiday novella. Highly recommended! ...more
One theme shined through with this lovely short story collection...new beginnings. If it's one thing that we all start thinking about as the holidaysOne theme shined through with this lovely short story collection...new beginnings. If it's one thing that we all start thinking about as the holidays and the end of a year approaches, it's new beginnings. And, for me, new beginnings mean hope which is another message that is very important at Christmas time.
In Christmas Mountain, Katherine finally comes to her sister's home out west, only after her sister has died. But she finally gets to meet her sister's family and it turns out to be a new beginning for her.
In Teton Christmas, two sisters move to Wyoming after their parents die. It's a different world for them, but they soon learn how magical a new life can be. There is a wonderful coffee cake recipe from this story at the end of the book, The Wycliffe Hotel's Famous Coffee Cake.
In Lily's Christmas Wish, orphans from New York are taken out west to Colorado to be placed with families. Lily is rescued from a potential hard fate and her and her teacher, Charlotte, learn what new beginnings really are.
The author has truly captured the world out west in the 19th century and mixed it with some festive Christmas stories from the era. This book of short stories is a perfect read for the holiday season. ...more
A new year is about new beginnings and that is exactly what happens to Scrooge, as we know from the classic tale, A Christmas Carol, but also for JacoA new year is about new beginnings and that is exactly what happens to Scrooge, as we know from the classic tale, A Christmas Carol, but also for Jacob Marley, the illustrious ex-partner of Scrooge. The man we know so little about...until now.
Bennett has taken the beloved classic and flipped it so we can see things from Jacob's point of view. Unlike Scrooge, Jacob came from a loving family. What turned him into such a harsh, grasping soul? It's hard to say, but one thing is certain, he was instrumental in turning Scrooge into the same kind of man as himself. In fact, even more so in his greed and unkind nature toward his fellow man. When Marley departs this earth, he repents and realizes what he has done to people, and to Scrooge in particular. This is Jacob's story of redemption on the path to redeeming Scrooge.
I was very excited to read this book, as A Christmas Carol is one of my favorite books of all time. I am so glad I did. Another classic tale of second chances and how Christmas can be the time for us to forgive and learn and grow, to become better people, to ourselves and those around us. Jacob T. Marley deserves to be on everyone's Christmas reading shelf to be read each year, reminding us of the true meaning of Christmas and really, what being a good person is all about. ...more
Dear authors, if you write a book that brings me to tears, it automatically earns a must-read (5 stars on Goodreads) recommendation. Barbara has doneDear authors, if you write a book that brings me to tears, it automatically earns a must-read (5 stars on Goodreads) recommendation. Barbara has done it! I have not read such a touching, heartfelt Christmas book since one of my favorites, The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans. She has touched on so many of the things that resonate with me. Family, having two sons and dealing with how fast they grow and wondering where the time goes, the traditions and spirit of Christmas, and the importance of believing. I recognized so much of myself in Abbey. Her willingness to believe in the magic of Christmas is so like me. I'm sure that's why I identify with the book so well, but even if you do not identify yourself with the characters (but you just might), you will still love this book.
I must touch on another wonderful aspect of the book and that is the cover and inside illustrations by Suzanne Langelier-Lebeda. They are so wonderful and they really make the book even more special.
I must warn you...this book will make you cry, but it will also make you laugh and it will make you remember your family traditions and hopes. I really can't recommend this book highly enough. It has earned a permanent spot on my Christmas book shelves and I know I will read it again and again for many years to come. Thank you, Barbara, for this wonderful book. <3...more
A book with a TON of Christmas spirit, from the sights, smells, and tastes to the sentiments, North Pole High is the perfect Christmas read for youngA book with a TON of Christmas spirit, from the sights, smells, and tastes to the sentiments, North Pole High is the perfect Christmas read for young adults. We are taken on a journey into the life of Santa Claus's daughter, Candycane. We get to learn all the secrets of the North Pole and we get to see that despite all the Christmas wrapping, they are just like you and me...sort of. Candycane has all the normal angst of your average teenage girl; boys, overprotective fathers, jealous best friends. Despite all that, Candycane still keeps the Christmas spirit. How could she not...she is Santa's daughter after all. The best way to describe how wonderful her spirit is would be to share her quote about Christmas trees from the book:
"Rudy, a Christmas tree by itself is just a tree...Each soul who hangs a bauble from its bough, or threads a string of lights through its needles, or tops it with a shining star, is teaching it to sing its own unique song of joy. A Christmas tree, when it's finished and all lit up, with lots of presents cuddled underneath it, reflects the magic inside each person who trimmed it."
Wonderful, isn't it!? Candycane's unrelenting spirit is like that throughout the book which makes it whimsical and lovely for anyone who loves Christmas. I recommend this book to anyone who loves Christmas, but will remind that it is best suited to the young adult audience....more
What a charming early reader for children to read at Christmas. It's also a lovely book to read together as a family, which I did with my sons. AlthouWhat a charming early reader for children to read at Christmas. It's also a lovely book to read together as a family, which I did with my sons. Although they are a bit older than the age group for this book (they read quite well on their own now and my younger son reads at a higher level than his grade level), they enjoyed the book. I asked them for their thoughts on the book and here is what they said. They both thought it was cool how she figured out to use the tumbleweed as a Christmas tree. They also liked how she gave up her ball glove so she could buy presents for her family. As we were reading, we came to the part where the main character is talking about miracles with her friend. My son said, "Daniel doesn't know what a miracle is?" So I asked him, "Do you know what a miracle is?" He said yes, and told me, "It's something good that happens when you think it won't." Exactly! Tumbleweed Christmas teaches that we should believe in miracles and that sometimes we just may have to make the miracles happen ourselves. Also, I need to mention the wonderful illustrations. Just terrific! I highly recommend this book as a family Christmas book to be shared every year during the season. ...more
Once again, Barbara has written a poignant and heartwarming tale. As she did with The Reindeer Keeper, she has illustrated the importance of families,Once again, Barbara has written a poignant and heartwarming tale. As she did with The Reindeer Keeper, she has illustrated the importance of families, especially at Christmas.
In The Snowman Maker, we learn about a family who is affected by a history of adoption. The story shows us how an orphanage can be like another family and that the relationships fostered there can be lasting. It shows us the importance of finding out where we come from and that it's never too late to forgive and make a new beginning. All of this mixed in at Christmas time brings even more magic to the season.
I love stories set at Christmas, especially ones about family and traditions. Barbara is a master at telling these stories and I eagerly await her next Christmas book. ...more
The Christmas Village is a delightful holiday story geared toward middle grade readers. However, this is a book the entire family will enjoy. Not onlyThe Christmas Village is a delightful holiday story geared toward middle grade readers. However, this is a book the entire family will enjoy. Not only is the story an adventure, it also contains a message of love, friendship, and forgiveness. The nostalgic times of Christmases past, when villages and towns gathered in the town on Christmas Eve for celebration and companionship, the portrayal of the depression era and how people banded together to help each other in hard times...these elements are all present here and it's a refreshing and comforting read, perfect for reading at Christmas time, reminding us just what the Christmas spirit is all about. ...more
This was basically my very first cozy mystery and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The mystery is set up nicely and amateur sleuth, PhylThis was basically my very first cozy mystery and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The mystery is set up nicely and amateur sleuth, Phyllis, reminds me of Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote (one of my favorite shows back in the day). She is known around town as "the woman who solved all those murders," much to the dismay of the police, most likely because it seems she tends to show them up. I can certainly say that I was kept guessing about who committed the crime...there was no figuring this one out! I will say that no one should read this book on an empty stomach or if you're on a diet. Phyllis and her roommate, Carolyn, are constantly baking yummy treats and cookies. I felt like I could reach into the pages and grab one of Phyllis's German Chocolate Cookies and eat one myself. I wish! I was so pleased when I discovered that there are recipes that Phyllis prepared in the story at the back of the book. I'll definitely be trying them out. In all, this book was a wonderful read at Christmas, even if it surrounded solving a murder. I'm thinking I will definitely be checking out more of Livia's Fresh-Baked Mysteries in the future....more
Little Shepherd is a wonderful children's book to share with children during Christmas, or really any time of year. It tells about the birth of ChristLittle Shepherd is a wonderful children's book to share with children during Christmas, or really any time of year. It tells about the birth of Christ in a simple way, while also bringing across to the reader that God is watching over us. I read the book to my sons, who are nine and ten years old and I asked them their thoughts when we finished reading. One thing my younger son said first off was that he liked the illustrations (beautifully done by Eugene Ruble). When I asked him what else he liked about the book, he said he liked when the angels came telling them Jesus was born and when they came to see baby Jesus. I asked him how the sheep were kept safe and he said God watched over the sheep. My older son also liked when they went to see Jesus. He also couldn't believe that Obed was watching over sheep when he was only five years old. When I asked him who kept the sheep safe, he first said the angels and then said God. He then asked me how God did that and I told him that God was the almighty and he protects who and what he chooses. He chose to protect the sheep because he wanted the shepherds to witness the birth of Jesus and therefore, to spread the good news. He said, "I wish I could be God. I like God." Out of the mouth of babes. =O) As you can see, Little Shepherd does get its message across. Although clearly written for a younger audience than my sons, they still enjoyed this lovely book. It's a good edition to any family's Christmas book collection. ...more
What a sweet book! I really enjoyed reading it so much. What a clever idea to have Cupid telling some of the story and about his involvement in the inWhat a sweet book! I really enjoyed reading it so much. What a clever idea to have Cupid telling some of the story and about his involvement in the inner workings of romantic relationships. And I really enjoyed the characters in the book. I started getting emotionally invested in them and when Cupid started talking about Life Management (they're the ones that make all the bad things happen in life like accidents, mishaps, etc.) meddling in the characters' lives, I was on the edge of my seat. I simply did not want anything bad to happen to them.
Bette has told a heartwarming story here and even worked in a rescue dog being sought by one of the characters (a Bichon Frise who resembles Bette's own rescued Bichon, Katie). I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a story to warm the heart during the holidays. ...more